Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Year in Music: Part 1

I've been meaning to do a year-end wrap-up, but things have been hectic and the idea was a bit daunting--so much has happened this year that I'm afraid I won't do it justice. Despite everything (or, I should say, because of everything), I really think this has been one of the best years of my life.

I gave some friends and family a CD mix I dubbed "My year in music, 2005" so I thought a nice way to sum up the year was to tell the story of each song and why I picked it. Of course, I have many more memories of the year, but this will have to do.

I have 19 songs on the CD, so I'll do it in parts, two or three songs at a time depending on how long each story is. Here are the first two songs:

1. Elton John - Tiny Dancer
Okay, many of you probably know why I picked this song, but here's the story, slightly abridged. (ha) You probably have all heard that a line from the chorus of the song, "Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer" is often mis-sung as "Hold me closer, Tony Danza." Well, this song reminds me of the night I met Tony Danza.

It was a Saturday in March--the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Alison and I decided to explore new places in our 'hood, the Upper East Side. We started the night at a place called Etats Unis, had wine and guacamole there, then went onto this really fun piano bar called Brandy's for another drink. Finally, we had enough liquid courage to check out Elaine's. Elaine's is near my old apartment, and both of us had been past it hundreds of times, but have never been in. I had heard it was a kind of old NYC establishment where celebrities, literati, and VIPs like to go, and I've been pretty intimidated by it, but we decide to go and see what it's all about. It's not too crowded, we order drinks at the bar and I'm looking around and notice Mr. Big (Chris Noth--from Sex and the City) sitting at a table with a bunch of people. I say to Alison quietly, "Mr Big is here" and she looks casually over and says, "why, yes he is." We decide to try to sit down and there's an empty table next to where Big is sitting, so we just sit down there. We're minding our own business, and then I notice that Tony Danza is also sitting at Big's table! Cool. We keep minding our business, and I notice him flitting from table to table greeting people. At one point, Tony Danza stands up and turns around, and if seeing us for the first time says, "Ladies! What are you doing here?" and introduces himself ("Hi, I'm Tony.") and asks if he can join us, gesturing to an empty chair next to me. He sits down and we basically hang out with Tony Danza all night. He was so funny and down-to-earth. He asks us what we do, so then I of course ask him if he's ever thought about writing a children's book and he says no (he said he read an article about celebrity books and it isn't his thing), and then we talk about his show and I ask if he would have any of our authors on the show and tell him about some of our books, and he gets excited about Gossip Girl because he wants to improve his ratings with teen girls. So I give him my card and tell him to contact me if he's really interested, of course not really thinking he'd call. Anyway, it's a really fun night and I feel like I learned his life story. Oh, and I actually sing "Hold me closer, Tony Danza" to his face, because the song is stuck in my head.

And then he calls me at work the following Monday! My assistant Rebekah picks up and intercoms me. "Uh, Tony Danza is on the line."
"Shut up!" I thought she was playing a joke on me.
"No, I'm serious." So I pick up.
"This is Alvina."
"Ling! It's Tony Danza!"
"Shut up!"

That was really how it went. Do you know how impossible it is to not smile and laugh while talking to Tony Danza?! Anyway, we end up sending over a box of books, but nothing really comes of it. But to this day I feel that that night was my ultimate NY experience. Oh, and he introduced us to Chris Noth, although he never came over to talk to us. But I got to shake his hand. Hot.

This song also reminds me of Brandy's, because I went back there one night with Mary and Jamie, who had heard the story, and the piano man starts playing this song and we all (including the piano man) sing it as "Hold me closer, Tony Danza!"

2. Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams
One of the first weekends living at my new apartment, Tracy comes over to hang out, and we go to two bars on my block (this weekend was before the Tony Danza weekend). The first place is a fancy martini bar called Stir where we can only afford one drink, and then go on to the Banshee, the bar my roommates had all told me was their neighborhood bar. Tracy and I sit in a booth by the window. Then I notice too men embracing very passionately (not in a sexual way, though) behind us, and we start to wonder what the story behind the hug was. Eventually one of the guys who had been hugging comes over to talk to us, and he's this hilarious character with spiked blond hair (that I think is dyed) who talks a bit like a surfer dude but is from DC. He kept saying "Inappropriate" in this surfer dude voice. I can still hear it in my head today. Anyway, we ask him why he was hugging the guy, and he said something about how the guy is an ex-girlfriend's fiance or husband or something. Anyway, the guy is really fun and entertaining, and some of his other friends come over, all visiting from DC, including this very gloomy Asian guy. We talk to him about why he's so depressed and he says something about how he works for the CIA or the government and he's seen horrible things, and then all of a sudden the Green Day song comes on and he starts singing animatedly and doing air guitar, which is so unexpected and hilarious. Anyway, Tracy and I eventually leave to get something to eat. I remember getting Belgium waffles topped with vanilla ice cream and a side of bacon. I dip my bacon in the ice cream. Yum.

This song also remind me of my London trip with Lisa: I sang it at Karaoke for Sara's Hen Party. Such a great time!

Okay, that's all for now! To be continued.

Oh, and if didn't get the CD and want it, just let me know. But maybe wait until you see what else is on it...

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